Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is urging Kiwis not to throw in the towel in its efforts to stamp out Covid-19 from the community.
The daily case numbers seemed to be trending downwards consistently past week, but then jumped past 20 again on Saturday.
Of Sunday’s 20 new community cases, nearly half are contacts of previous cases. Of the overall Delta outbreak, 34 cases are still yet to be linked to known cases.
“I want to acknowledge how hard it is when numbers jump around as they have been doing in the past few days,” Ardern said.
“That is not a sign of failure. It’s not a sign that what we’re doing isn’t working. It just means that Delta is harder and the tail, therefore, is harder. But it’s not impossible.”
She said she spoke to frontline staff daily, and that this could give some perspective.
“Something that one of the teams on the ground said stood out to me…they said that we have to remember we still know where the vast majority of our cases are coming from,” Ardern said.
“This is a simple and important reminder - it’s an indication of the general control we have of this outbreak.”
She said Delta could sometimes feel like taking “some steps forward and some steps back”, especially for Auckland.
And while, on the face of it, currently unlinked Covid-19 cases could seem alarming, “very often” links could be found over time using science.
The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there was no evidence of widespread community transmission of the virus in Auckland.
“Yes, we have seen a few cases over the past week or so which have taken us a bit of time to link. Therefore, we are assuming there may be other undetected cases,” Bloomfield said.
That was why there had been “very targeted testing” in some communities in Auckland of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people, he said.
He said this testing could detect if there were any other unknown cases.
Bloomfield said Covid-19 testing volumes were able to provide that reassurance, but added that these rates needed to be maintained.
In the past 24 hours, nearly 11,000 Covid-19 tests were completed around the country, about 5000 of those from Auckland.